Adam Driver was probably the last person one military family expected to turn up on their doorstep recently, but he did, and he came bearing great news to their corner of Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania.
The Star Wars actor, who was a U.S. Marine following the September 11th attacks, presented Hayley Grace Williams, a 21-year-old nursing student, with a full scholarship courtesy of Budweiser and Folds of Honor in a heartwarming video released Tuesday. Folds of Honor is a foundation that provides educational scholarships for children and spouses of disabled and fallen service men and women.
The link between the actor and the cause is a strong one: Driver broke his sternum in a mountain biking accident before he was set to be deployed to Iraq, and Army veteran John Williams, Hayley Grace’s father, was similarly injured just before his team was set to carry out Operation Desert Storm.
Both felt a deep sense of guilt over not being able to be there for their team, a sentiment that John admitted he hadn’t been able to share with many others.
“You’re probably the first person that ever said, ‘I understand’ and truly understood,” he tells Driver in the clip.
As a result of her dad’s injury, Hayley explains in the video, she knew early on that she wanted to study to become a nurse, “a calling inspired by my father, my everyday hero,” she says.
“Right now, I’m working 40 hours a week to pay the final year,” Hayley says in voiceover. “But at a cost of nearly $44,000, affording my final year simply may not be possible. Receiving your scholarship would change my life, and set me up to change the lives of veterans like my father. I truly thank you for your consideration.”
In the video, Driver surprises the Williams’ at their home and presents Hayley with the scholarship letter. “Your family’s commitment to country is only matched by your commitment to each other,” Hayley reads the letter aloud. “Your hard work, dedication, and caring spirit exemplify what Folds of Honor and Folds of Honor stand for.”
When the three Williams hug tightly, Driver, who is overwhelmed with emotion, joins in on the cathartic embrace.
“I just felt lucky to be there,” he later told the Huffington Post. “Perseverance is a quality that can’t be celebrated enough. Hayley and her family embody it.”